How To Shoot Pool
When you decide to learn how to shoot pool, you’ll soon realize that the rules of the most common pool game, called eight-ball, are fairly easy, but it’s the strategy that takes a little more time. However, it’s strategy that will ultimately make you a pool playing superstar. For those who have never shot pool, here are some of the basics. If you already know how to shoot pool, it never hurts to refresh your memory.
- Pool table
- Cue stick
- Discover your balls. Stop snickering. When learning how to shoot pool, the first thing to know is there many colored balls. Some are solid; some are stripes. Each one is numbered 1-15. Balls 1-7 are solid colored, and balls 9-15 are stripes. You cannot miss the 8-ball; it’s the solid black one. It’s also the one you want to avoid at all costs until you knock all of your balls into the holes in the pool table. In addition, there is a solid white ball, called the “cue,” and it has no number.
- Pick a cue stick. This is what you will use to knock the cue ball into the other balls. It’s pointy and long, but try to resist the temptation to use it as a baton; many an eye has been blackened by this maneuver. It has three parts: the tip, shaft and butt. You’re snickering again. Hey, we didn’t invent the names. Anyway, the perfect cue stick must come from a magic tree and has to have been struck three times by lightning. We jest. No, until you are able to manipulate a lighter cue stick, choose a heavier one. 19.5 to 21 ounces is a good rule of thumb for beginners. Switch to a lighter cue if it is too heavy; you may lose power, but you’ll gain more control.
- Pool Table. A standard pool table is about 9 feet long, 4 feet wide and has a velvety surface. There are four corner pool pockets (holes where the balls drop in; shockingly, they are located at the corners) and two side pockets. Near one end, you will see a small white circle. It is where you set the cue ball. It also has borders, called rails, around the edges; they are used mainly to rest your beer. However, it costs about $150 to replace the surface, so maybe that’s not such a good idea, after all.
- Rack ‘em up. This is the part you’ve been waiting for-how to shoot pool. Take the rack (it’s that triangular thing that pool players use to place the balls before the pool game begins. Leave out the white cue ball and arrange them all inside the rack. Take your fingers and alternate solids and stripes. Make sure they fit together snugly.
- Use the cue stick to break. After chalking your hands so that they slide easier, go to the other side of the pool table and put your cue ball on the white spot. Lean down into a comfortable stance, aim for the front and center ball and bust them wide open by hitting the cue ball into them with as much force as possible.
- Begin planning your strategy. Whatever ball you sink on the break are the ones you will try to knock in for the remainder of the game. If both a stripe and a solid fall, you have your choice of which you will shoot. Just knowing the rules on how to shoot pool is important, but to win consistently, you have to know which balls you can get into the pocket, so you must think about where you leave the cue ball. This is how you can plan your next shot. Keep shooting until you either miss or foul out by knocking the cue ball into the pocket. At this point, your opponent will take his turn. This continues until you or your opponent sinks the eight ball.